Photo from the Mount Vernon farmers market’s official Instagram (@mountvernonfarmersmarket)
By Soo-jung Lee
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market is an annual event that opens in Mount Vernon every May, and this year, the Market will open May 15. The Market opens at 9am at the Public Square, located in downtown Mount Vernon. The market will open every Saturday until October. Currently, the Mount Vernon Farmers Market is accepting applications amongst the people who are willing to participate in the market. This year’s market has guidelines in order to comply with the difference that arose due to the Covid-19, including strictly instructing both merchants and the participants to wear mask at all times in order to prevent community infections.
Mount Vernon Farmers Market marks its 32nd anniversary this year, and this event celebrates its 4th year of permanent location at the Riverwalk Park. The market includes approximately 55 to 70 vendors. Following their mission to support the farmers and producers within a 125mile radius, the Mount Vernon Market offers a wide array of vegetables, fruits, meats (to include bison meat), sausages, pecans, walnuts, baked goods, jams, jellies, honey, potted plants, cut flowers, dried flowers, herbs, spices and teas. Also, the market will sell souvenirs that symbolize the market identity, which can be purchased during the market is open. This 32-year-old market encourages consumers to access and consume a wider variety of local goods by offering a variety of products.
The Market provides the citizens of Skagit County fresh locally grown produce and handcrafted items, and to support community agriculture in a friendly, informative atmosphere. Also, they are putting in the effort to live in a community where fresh, locally grown food and hand-crafted items are accessible to all and their agricultural heritage and economy is preserved for future generations. The Mount Vernon Farmers Market not only provides outlets for small businesses and builds communities, but also helps low-income families access fresh locally grown agricultural products through various programs. They gave out 16,368 dollar sign in fresh fruits and vegetables during the 2019 season.
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market runs its own special program. SNAP Market Match is a program where those receiving food assistance who come to the market can receive up to $40 in fresh fruits and vegetables every shopping trip. Simply swipe your EBT card at the Information Booth for a certain amount to spend in EBT and they will match up to $40 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The vouchers for SNAP Market Match work at any participating farmers market in the state and are good all season. Consumers can feel like they are receiving gifts through this attractive program.
Farmers Market is a market that provides an opportunity for both local merchants and local Residences. Through Farmers Market, local merchants are able to sell their products, and the local residents are able to experience local products. In addition, local residents can be united in that it is an event where the residents gather together and for some, this market becomes a resting place. Many Skagit Valley College students also participate in the market as customers and the student survey indicates that their satisfaction regarding the Mount Vernon Farmers Market is quite high. Students cite that by participating in Farmers Market, they are benefit greatly, making friends with various local people and access various local products. Julie, a Skagit Valley College student, participated in last year’s market. After participating she said, “I recommend this event to everyone! Except for people who don’t enjoy a little bit of some free food.” She also highlighted the perk of Farmers market in her belief being able to receive free food. Also, the participation at the Farmers Market allows the students to engage in an activity other than studying. By doing so, it helps the students to relax a little bit and release them from stressing out about what kind of activity they should participate next time. They sell a variety of products as well as food, customers can meet various consumption needs. Aletha Brooks, a Skagit Valley resident said, “It is really good to get diverse fresh local food. They sell quite a variety of things as well as food. They also sell such as flowers which I love. So, I buy flowers every year.”
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market will continue every year with the residents of Skagit, along with its history to date. Local residents say the market is bringing various benefits to the Skagit Valley community and expect the market to revitalize Skagit Valley this year. Join the market this year and enjoy a variety of experiences.